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Unselfish sewing

Could also have the title “venturing into new territory”.

Recently my son was looking for a shirt to wear to an interview, he has a few but more often he takes one of my husband/his father. The fit is not perfect, as my son has broad shoulders and is taller but in general my husbands’ shirts are nicer quality. In a weak moment SmileI offered him to make a shirt. Perhaps I’ll regret the offer later on. I’ve never sewn for my husband, he’s very satisfied with the fit of rtw and always said not to bother. To be honest, I was happy with that. Now I like the idea to venture into new sewing territory. For the moment I’ve decided on a pattern and found suitable fabric in my collection.

The pattern will be Burda 6874, an envelope pattern. The fabric a good quality cotton, in my collection for I guess 10 years or more.


I washed the fabric, traced the pattern and am almost ready to start sewing. I’ve been reading parts of David Page Coffin’s book (lots of information but so difficult to read) and want to read a bit more on construction as I want to make it a real classic shirt.

Tips and information links very welcome!


  1. Weak moments get me all the time! I applaud you! I couldn't do a button up woven shirt for the men in my life. I stick with knits and fudge everything :-D

  2. I'm sure you'll make a beautiful shirt. I have made a shirt or two for my son - that's what mothers do. I've picked up quite a few good tips from Pamela Erny, a custom shirt maker in the US. She hasn't posted in a while, as far as I know, but I will give you the links to her two blogs. You can scroll around and glean what information you need.

  3. You have beautiful shirt making skills that certainly translate into a mans shirt. I have had that Coffen book for years and it's just not an easy read. I even tried a couple of shirts with it and wadders. But, you've made a lot of shirts for yourself, and I doubt you'll have any problems. The biggest issue I foresee is that he'll love it so much and beg you to make more.

  4. I'm sure you'll make an amazing shirt for your son! I love Pam Howard's Craftsy course, Making the Classic Tailored Shirt. She walks you through every step and I often rewatch sections of the class when I'm making a collar or cuffs or yokes.

  5. I think that's the book that Peter Lappin [of Male Pattern Boldness] used to gain his shirt making expertise. I think that men's shirts are no harder than women's, once you learn those little details like a good cuff placket. Some of my shorts have that too!
    I'm certain it will be brilliant, and your husband will be queuing up in no time...

  6. I like sewing shirts and I learned a lot from some episodes of powersewing with Sandra Betzina and Ron Howard.

  7. Hello Sigrid! I have been reading you for a while but never left a comment.
    You're such an experienced sewist it should be no problem to sew a shirt,
    however I can recommend Four Square Walls' tutorials:

    Unfortunately, Andrea has not posted for a while!

  8. I'm looking forward to seeing the shirt you make for your son. Shirts are my favorite thing to sew, and I enjoy seeing the shirts that others make.

    My shirts have gone up a level or two since I started using Kathleen Fasanella's shirtmaking tips found in the following post.

    I especially like the method shown for sewing the button bands. It's so easy and looks fantastic.

    Kathleen has shirtmaking tips regarding cuffs and sleeve plackets, too. Those are outlined in the "Reverse Engineering" series. Scroll down the following page to that section if you'd like to check them out.

  9. Hi Sigrid,
    Sewing this shirt should be no problem for you. I've made many men shirts and I used the same pattern as you are. It is excellent. He the link of the shirt I made with it. I always use Pam's shirt interfacing for the collar as well as her tutorials.

    1. Beautiful shirt. I can't comment on your blog unfortunately but hope my shirt will be as nice.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. You are a wonderful mother for tackling this despite your uncertainty. As you can tell, those of us who have watched your lovely sewing projects take shape know that you will do so well but yes, a new project can be unsettling at the beginning. I am glad to hear you and others chime in about the challenges of David Coffin's books. I too want to love them but find them a challenge too.

  12. I have made two shirts for husband and they have come out well. I used the same pattern as you but did a toile for fit. My biggest problem has been getting stiff enough interfacing to make the collars look right (purchased shirts tend to have very stiff and smooth collars). Even Pam Erny's shirt crisp didn't seem quite stiff enough though I believe she has now produced and even stiffer version which might be good - except it has to come from the USA! In the second shirt I did I put pockets for plastic/brass collar stiffener strips under the collar points. Making the shirts was actually not all that difficult - it just required accuracy, which I know you have in large measure. Looking forward to seeing pictures of the result.
    PS I visit Leiden from time to time - last time in May for my niece's wedding in Leiderdorp. It's such a lovely civilised city - and nice fabric stalls on the market on Saturday. I hope you are really enjoying the new house.

    1. Thank you. If you're in Leiden again and have time for a meet-up, let me know. It's only a bicycle ride for me.


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